Kiernan Ironfield: understanding economics to influence policy

By Seth Robinson

Studying economics can be a pathway to many futures, whether it be working in corporate or financial sectors, or policy and governance. For Master of Economics student Kiernan Ironfield, it’s the latter that drew him to MBS.

Kiernan Ironfield is a Darug man, originally from Canberra. After studying a Bachelor of Economics at the Australian National University (ANU), he entered the workforce and found his way to Melbourne. In that time, he worked with NAB, and joined the University as part of Murrup Barak.

“I joined Murrup Barak in early 2015 as the National Indigenous Outreach Officer. I was responsible for designing and delivering the community outreach program. While in that role, I worked with Emily Direen, an Indigenous woman, and together we were responsible for delivering the largest intake of Indigenous students to the university.” It was this role that served as Kiernan’s introduction to the University of Melbourne community, and laid the foundation for the years to come. “I was promoted to Team Leader of Indigenous Student Success later that year. Over the next two years I worked under the guidance of Associate Director Charles O'Leary to design, manage, and oversee the delivery of Indigenous student programs. I’m most proud of the 40% annual increase in tutoring delivered through the ITAS program and the streamlining of student services.”

Now, Kiernan has decided to take the next step forward in both his professional and academic career, enrolling in the Master of Economics program at MBS. just half way through his first semester, Kiernan admits he’s found the program challenging, but the benefits and opportunities it offers are an incentive to persevere and equip himself with the ability to make institutional change.

“In the future I would like to be an Indigenous voice contributing to policy level discussions. Right now, my goal is to get through the program, focus, and build skills and knowledge that I can use to impact things that I care about.”

With that goal in mind, Kiernan has some advice for future Indigenous MBS students.

“We can do it if we put our minds to it, and it’s alright to be vulnerable and ask for help if you need it.”

Find out more about the Master of Economics program at MBS, or the opportunities offered to Indigenous students by Murrup Barak.